CALDWELL, Ohio -- An area correctional facility is among seven across the state reporting serious issues with a private food vendor servicing Ohio's prisons.
Inspectors at the Noble Correctional Institution say Aramark Food Services employees have violated sanitation and conduct policies on no fewer than 14 occasions since their contract began in September 2013. Incident reports obtained by AVC News show that inspectors found maggots in food service areas - but not in inmates' food - on three separate occasions. The reports also show that three Aramark employees have been removed due to inappropriate supervision of inmates, two for contraband conveyance and six for unprofessional conduct.
JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, declined an interview with AVC News. In an emailed statement, Smith wrote that "food service is a critical operation and maggots are absolutely unacceptable." She added that the corrections department has "made it clear to Aramark that improvements must continue."
Director Gary Mohr told media outlets earlier this month that Aramark has been fined more than $272,000 for ongoing problems including lack of cleanliness, food shortages and other contract violations.
The worst problems have occurred at the Belmont, Warren, Noble, Mansfield, Pickaway and Lebanon prisons and the Ohio Reformatory for Women at Marysville.
Aramark received a $110 million, two-year contract last fall as part of a state cost-cutting move that so far has saved $13.3 million. The Philadelphia-based company is feeding 50,500 inmates at an average cost of $3.61 a day each.